Barbara Mallow, cellist

Barbara Mallow, cellist

Featured Artist interview with cellist Barbara Mallow – March 2019

How did you get started in music? Did you always know you would be a cellist?
I was born into a musical family. My mother, Lillian Fuchs, was a well known violist, and my Uncle, Josef Fuchs, was a very famous violinist. I started on piano, then composition. I won the NY Philharmonic competition for young composers at the age of fourteen. Then I went to the High School of Music and Art and began to play the cello.

When did you move to Leonia? Has life in Leonia had an influence on your life in music?
We moved to Leonia from New York City in 1971. I was one of the original members of the Leonia Chamber Musicians.

Do you have a personal philosophy that you express when you perform, or apply when you teach students to play the cello?
I try to come as close to the composer’s intentions as I can. I teach the students to become one with their instrument. In teaching you respond to the needs of each individual student.

What is the most challenging part of being a professional musician?
The most challenging thing is TIME!  Time to do your work plus taking care of a family’s needs.

What is the most rewarding experience you had as a cellist?
Playing the Brahms Double Concerto with Henryk Schering – this happened because he was rehearsing at my home before a concert he was to give, and he heard me practicing my part of the Brahms upstairs, and asked me if I would like to go over it with him.

What is your favorite music to play or listen to?
String quartets are my favorite to play, and the Beethoven Sonatas for cello and piano, which I am recording with Steven Masi.

Who influenced you as a musician the most?
Playing with my mother and uncle was the best learning experience I could have had.

What inspires you, or where do you find inspiration?
Being outside inspires me – nature, and of course my family.

If you had to choose between taking on a new student or learning a new piece for cello, which would you rather do and why?
That’s an impossible question!

How many students have you given lessons to play the cello?
I have been teaching for 60 years! Locally and at Blue Hill, the summer music school started by Franz Kneisel in Maine where I go every summer. I love teaching, and have taught hundreds, or even thousands, of students over the years.

Photography by Matt Dine